Loss of TIC jobs to be gradual, manageable for Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com

Loss of TIC jobs to be gradual, manageable for Steamboat

Michael Schrantz

Last week's announcement that TIC Holdings was leaving Steamboat Springs for good was surprising to few. Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association CEO Tom Kern acknowledged there was a general understanding in the community that the departure was inevitable after Kiewit’s purchase of TIC in 2008. And Steamboat Springs City Manager Jon Roberts said he reached out to TIC to see whether there was anything the city could do to persuade the company to stay, but its decision stood.

Now that it's final, the only thing left to observe is the company’s transition to the Front Range and how that process impacts Steamboat.

"It has been a great ride," Scott Ford, a data analyst with Yampa Valley Data Partners, said about TIC’s 38-year history here.

Ford said that although it's unfortunate to lose a good member of the business community, the effects of TIC moving likely will be gradual and manageable for the local economy.

The 124 jobs being transitioned out of Steamboat will be moved throughout the next year and should be complete by the end of 2013, TIC stated in a news release announcing the move.

"It's realistic to say that for a variety of reasons, not all of the 124 will move to Denver," TIC spokesman Gary Bennett said the day of the announcement. For example, some of the 124 may retire, find other jobs in Routt County or start their own businesses.

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When Wave Sport Kayaks left Oak Creek in 1999, only about one-third of its 35 employees followed the company to North Carolina, said Chan Zwanzig, who owned the company.

"It was obvious that about two-thirds just felt that Routt County was more important to their lives than" the job, Zwanzig said.

Former Wave Sports employee EJ Jackson went on to start Jackson Kayak.

While no Wave Sports employees from its Oak Creek days still are with the company, according to Zwanzig, that isn't always the case for Steamboat residents when companies are bought out.

When the engineering firm TerraMatrix was absorbed by Montgomery Watson, Alan Krause stayed with the firm and now splits his time between Steamboat and the Broomfield offices of what now is called MWH Global as its president and CEO.

Undoubtedly, TIC's departure takes with it more positions than either of those companies maintained here, but in the overall scope of Steamboat's economy, it still represents only a modest portion.

According to Bureau of Economic Analysis data, the total wages and salary paid to those who file tax returns in Routt County was $561,804,000 in 2010. Using Ford's estimate of $6.88 million in total Routt County payroll for TIC (based on an industry salary estimate), that would make the company's share of total wages and salary for the county about 1.2 percent. If some of the 124 TIC employees who work in Steamboat file taxes in Moffat County, that share could fall further.

As these factors add up to blunt the economic impact felt by Routt County, the hardest loss to replace will be the "generosity this company displayed in action and in words," Ford wrote in an email.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com

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